Learning Skills Journey Tool

Support students in their quest for success

When it comes to advising university students, understanding their individual needs is a critical part of being able to offer life-changing support.

That’s why our team created the Learning Skills Journey Tool, which defines the skills needed for lifelong learning and helps individuals assess where they can grow and improve.

Designed through a collaborative research study conducted by Oregon State University Ecampus and Brigham Young University, the tool is designed to help administrators and advisors more quickly and accurately assess an individual’s learning skills gaps, so they can offer targeted interventions and recommendations to students.

How to use the tool

The Learning Skills Journey Tool can be used in three ways:

  1. Advisors and success coaches can use this tool to support students as they enter an academic program. It can be used to understand what specific resources are needed to support their academic success.
  2. Students can use this tool to self-assess competencies and better understand where they may struggle.
  3. Researchers can use this tool to measure student readiness.

Download the Learning Skills Journey Tool

This tool is most effective when used as an opportunity for student exploration and in the personal growth context of coaching and advising.

Download PDF

“Our intention was always for this to be a useful tool for our student success team and advisors.”

Mary Ellen Dello Stritto, PhD
Director of Ecampus Research Unit
Oregon State University

“To me, a learner readiness tool is not about weeding people out. Learning is a journey. It’s about having a growth mindset.”

Carolyn Andrews
Associate dean of continuing education
Brigham Young University

“Some students will say ‘I’m having a hard time managing my time.’ This tool helps pull apart the why. Is it about balancing priorities? Is it about their motivation to do things? Can they reach out to an instructor with questions when they have them?”

Kyle Whitehouse
Assistant director of student services
Oregon State Ecampus

About the study

The Learning Skills Journey Tool is the result of a collaborative research study. The purpose was to redevelop and cross-validate an online learner readiness tool that would be useful in the changing 21st century learning landscape and could be used with different university populations.

To achieve this, the research team conducted an extensive literature review, surveyed online students from two universities in the United States, and worked directly with student success administrators, coaches and advisors to understand the key elements that would be useful for their work with students.

An in-depth article about this study was published in the Online Learning Journal in Dec. 2023.

View article

students surveyed to redevelop and cross-validate the tool

Utilize the online medium

Online environments function differently than in-person environments. Think about how you could use the online medium to your advantage.

Learn from others and take advantage of professional development

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Learn from other online instructors and online learning professionals, and take advantage of professional development opportunities.

Make your presence known and communicate regularly

Consider what methods of communication you wish to use (text, phone or video) as well as where communication could happen (inside the LMS, over Zoom or in person).

Consider and support your students

Online students often juggle multiple life responsibilities. Think about your course from the students’ perspective. How can you continually invite your students into your course?

Focus on what you love about teaching

Enjoy the experience of teaching online and focus on aspects of the work that you love. For example, you may love your content area, interacting with and mentoring students, and online pedagogy.

Believe in your ability to teach online

Most content can be taught online with some creativity. Even if you are unsure of how to teach something online, you will have better outcomes if you believe that it is possible.

Be aware of the time and effort involved in teaching online

Developing new online courses take a lot of upfront work. Once a course is developed, teaching online takes more time than you think. Many online instructors think that the time commitment is similar to in-person teaching.

Build a connected online community

Help students feel connected to you as an instructor as well as to other students. How you can interact with your students? How can you encourage your students to interact with each other?

About the Ecampus Research Unit

We conduct world-class research on online education. It's our mission to make online teaching and learning research actionable. Find out more »